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Kennedy Hot Spring

Formerly a popular hot springs site, Kennedy Hot Springs were buried in a 2003 flood. They are now inaccessible.


It was built in 1927 and was popular with both USFS employees and visitors. It was a rest stop for fatigued equestrian and foot travellers for decades, and it was summer home for rangers like Russ Hanbey, Kenneth Vail, and Mike Collier, who instructed children not to collect the frogs they found at the campgrounds during the summer of 1973, but to enjoy them simply by observation. Because it was located within the Glacier Peak Wilderness Area, the cabin’s upkeep had been minimal, and with time, its walls sagged and it sank further and deeper into the earth on which it rested. 

Floodwaters swept out the cabin, the hot springs, the trail, and the road on the night of October 21, 2003, and continued down to the Rockport water gauge, which measured 102,000 cubic feet per second, making October 2003 a record flood.

Parts of the mountain above Kennedy Hot Springs, the lodge at Kennedy, the bridges over the Whitechuck River and Kennedy Creek, the whole lower half of the campsite, and much of the Whitechuck Trail were carried away by the Whitechuck River –


The trail has been so badly damaged that even the most intrepid explorer will be unable to climb it. The popular cabin site, hot springs, and campsite are buried beneath several feet of soil, stones, and logs the size of cars. The debris in the Kennedy region is so thick that trail markers that were once hung just above eye level on trees are now hung at ankle level.

Today, adventurous hikers can reach the Kennedy region via the arduous Lost Creek Ridge trek or the PCT. Although rusty coloured mineral water seeps through the rubble, the upper campground, which was spared by the flood waters, is filled with dead trees.



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